My husband was bobbing in the waves with two out of three kids and I was on the beach with the third. He was burying his feet in sand and finding pretty rocks for me.
Then they came and put their beach blankets on the sand right next to us. If you’re a woman, you know who they are.
They are the women in the itty bitty bikinis. They are the ones who look like they were just photographed in those itty bitty bikinis with little to no photoshop help (because they don’t happen to have cellulite or tan lines or stretch marks). And they are the ones that make me go to that place in my mind.
If you’re a woman, you know what that place is.
It’s where you question your worth because you’d look so very not flawless in a bikini, let alone a poncho. It’s where you get annoyed because you’ve been eating spinach WITHOUT ranch for months and bending in squats until your legs go numb for weeks and you managed somehow to gain weight. It’s where you feel either invisible or far too visible or a combination of both (I know, it doesn’t make sense unless you’ve lived it).
They made me go to that place.
Well, that was what I thought. For a minute.
The next minute I decided that I was done with that place.
For the very first time in my 37 1/2 years of life I told that inner voice to shut it.
Those ladies didn’t make me think those terrible things about myself. They didn’t say a word to me. In fact, they were too busy enjoying the beach to pay me any mind. I am the one who allowed those thoughts. I said mean things to me.
I decided that I wasn’t going to waste my evening. I was going to enjoy my time. I was going to laugh with my kids and admire the husband who loves me (and who doesn’t EVER make me feel badly about my cellulite or stretch marks and who loves me dearly).
I hushed the lies.
And I told myself something true.
My worth is not the size of my waist or the way my body is shaped. My worth is not in my ability to wear a bikini. My worth is not in how perfectly bronzed my skin is (good thing because I turn into a lobster in the sun).
This body is not my worth.
And those women in their itty bitty bikinis? Their worth is not their bodies, either.
My worth, their worth, YOUR worth is in who made you. Who saved you. Who loves you.
There I stood, on the soft sand, the bikini ladies nearby and I felt a confidence I don’t know that I’ve ever had.
There on the shore of Lake Michigan I enjoyed the enormity of God’s love.